Natural Resources and Environment Mentors

Eli Roberts

Contact: eli.a.roberts@gmail.com; (860) 689-4435
Title: Edible Landscape Designer, Mobile Design Lab, Northampton, MA

I design landscapes that are productive, self-maintaining, and carbon-sequestering.

I graduated in 2008 with a Psychology degree and a Business minor, joined Teach for America, and taught first- and third grades in New Orleans. The more I learned about neoliberal/corporate education reform, the less I felt like I could make a difference with the level of expertise I had. So two friends and I took a year to design an independent study curriculum for ourselves, and we learned a lot more about education policy, culturally-relevant pedagogy, and examples of authentic community-driven school improvement and movement-building. We created a group to support new teachers' critical discussions of race, class, and their place in the post-Katrina educational landscape. Around this time, I discovered permaculture design, which mimics relationships found in nature to design useful human ecosystems. I was attracted to its holistic approach and hard-nosed accounting of inputs and outputs, which led me to a sustainable ag fellowhip in Virginia, which led to my current work with Mobile Design Lab. So, now I'm interested in how land management/design can be implemented on a large scale to join other movements in addressing food sovereignty, systemic race/class/gender oppression, corporate domination, and getting atmospheric carbon below 350 ppm!

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Dena Vallano

Contact: dena.vallano@gmail.com
Title: AAAS Science and Technology and Policy Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

Areas of Expertise: Ecology, Conservation Biology, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Environmental Policy, Science Communication

Dena Vallano is an ecologist whose work focuses on air quality, climate change, biodiversity, and plant physiology. She completed her BS in Biology from Villanova University (2003) and PhD (2009) in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. Her dissertation was partially funded by an NSF IGERT Graduate Fellowship in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Complexity. She then spent two years as a postdoctoral scholar in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she conducted research on the environmental and policy impacts of atmospheric nitrogen and ozone pollution on California serpentine grasslands. She is currently a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow on the Innovation Team at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she enjoys working at the intersection of science and policy and developing innovative solutions for complex environmental problems. 

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Lisa Winter, Ph.D.

Contact: lwinter@aer.com
Title: Staff Scientist, Atmospheric and Environmental Research

Areas of Expertise/Interest: I can advise about careers in scientific research and graduate studies in the sciences (particularly astronomy/physics).  I have experience working in academia, government, and industry.

While at VU, I was awarded a 2002 Goldwater scholarship for research and departmental awards for research and academic excellence in astronomy.  Following graduation from VU in 2003, with a BS in Astronomy/Astrophysics and BS in Honors (minor physics), I attended the University of Maryland, College Park.  At UMD, I conducted research at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, receiving a departmental award for academic excellence and obtained my Ph.D. in 2008.  I continued research on black hole astrophysics as a post-doc at the University of Colorado at Boulder with the Hubble Space Telescope Cosmic Origins Spectrograph team and subsequently was awarded a Hubble Fellowship for astronomical research.  Over this time, I published dozens of scientific articles, presented dozens of seminars/colloquia, and traveled extensively to both present my research results and obtain astronomical observations.  Currently, I am a staff scientist with Atmospheric and Environmental Research working in the field of space weather.

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